The UAE and Saudi Arabia have blocked internet access to a number of Qatari-based news websites following a row over the alleged hacking of Qatar’s official news agency (QNA).

On 23 May QNA quoted the country’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani criticising renewed tensions with Tehran, expressing an understanding for Shia group Hezbollah and Palestine’s militant group Hamas, and suggesting US President Donald Trump might not “last long in power.”

The statements were instantly denied by Doha, which said that its state news agency had been hacked.

“The Qatar News Agency (QNA) website has been hacked by an unknown entity. A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published,” a government statement said on 25 May after a number of Saudi news outlets reported the quotes.

Despite the official denial from Doha, the authorities in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi proceeded to block access to a number of Qatari websites, including Aljazeera, which has been previously criticised for driving a government agenda.

Relations between Qatar and other GCC countries were strained in 2014 over allegations that Doha was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. After an eight-month breakdown in relations, Saudi Arabia has been keen on presenting a united GCC front in its attempt to fight Islamist threats and increasing Iranian influence in the region.

The latest row will be a set back for the region following Trump’s visit to Riyadh last week.